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I hope everyone has had time to relax and rejuvenate during our Christmas break, and that you are anticipating the new year! It is a great time of the year to reflect on many things. Proverbs 22:6 says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

My hope in writing the following is to have us reflect on how we are doing as we train up a child or children in the way they should go. There are many different areas to ponder as parenting is a journey that is different for each child we have and it is also different depending on what stage they are in. Currently in middle school we have students navigating how to engage in positive relationships with their peers, how to use their time wisely, how to be organized in a school where they have several teachers, and how to use technology appropriately. Events we’ve experienced in the last couple years tell my gut that it may be wise to have a discussion about when is an appropriate time to buy our kids a cell phone and what do we need to consider as we put this powerful device into their hands..

Parenting middle schoolers with cell phones involves setting clear boundaries, discussing responsible usage, and creating open communication. Establish rules on screen time, appropriate content, and online behavior. Educate them about online safety, privacy, and the potential consequences of inappropriate actions. Encourage open dialogue, so they feel comfortable discussing their online experiences with you. Regularly monitor their phone activity because even the most well-behaved, well-intentioned teen can make mistakes, which unfortunately, can become public to peers and beyond. Finally, be a positive role model for how to use a cell phone as our kids are affected by our example.

There are many other things we can do as we parent our kids. Please take the time as we begin 2024 to spend quality time with your kids and have some family culture shaping conversations as well. My prayer is that you and your family have a blessed 2024!

Happy New Year,

Tom Strikwerda

January at HCMS

Thank You from the Staff:

Parents – thank you so much for showing such love and appreciation to our staff this Christmas. We appreciate all you do for us and for sharing your child(ren) with us each and every day. Thank you.

Front Office Communication Reminder:

Whenever a student is absent for any reason, whether for one period or a whole day, we need an email or a phone call to explain the reason for their absence. Parents can call 616.820.3205 or email to report these absences. Students have many orthodontic appointments; a note from the orthodontic office is sufficient. Thank you so much for your help with this.


Parents or older siblings who drop off or pick up students at the middle school are required to use the carline lot on the North side of the building near the gym. The front loop is for buses only, and the staff/visitor lot is not for drop-offs or pick-ups, even when you are running late. We ask that all drop-off/pick-ups respect these rules. Thank you for your consideration of things running safely and smoothly here.

New Athletic Season Starts in January:

Our Winter II athletic season is scheduled to start on January 8. Please stay tuned for more information from coaches on practice times and locations. This includes 7th and 8th grade Girls Basketball and 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Boys Swimming and Diving. A bus will leave from the MS and take athletes to practice. If your student would like to participate, you can still sign them up via Final Forms. Please make sure they have a current physical on file before January 8. Thanks.

8th Grade News:

With the school year almost half complete already, 8th graders are beginning to prepare for high school. There are two dates to pay attention to:

January 22 is the High School Showcase. Doors open at 6:30pm and the evening begins at 7. This is a time for 8th graders and their parents to explore the high school and hear of the class offerings available. Please RSVP here if you are planning to attend. Feel free to invite any incoming 9th grader who may be interested in HC to attend this event as well!

High School Course Registration for incoming 9th graders is due February 16. Our registrar, Dan Vos, will be available at the middle school on February 5 during Homeroom to answer any questions students or parents may have. He can also be reached via email at

Important Dates


15 – No school – MLK Day

19 – End of quarter 2semester 1

22- Begin semester 2/quarter 3

8th Grade HS Showcase 6:30pm @ HCHS

26 – Q2/S1 Grades available via PowerSchool


16- No school: Day- Professional learning

19 – No school – Professionaldevelopment/President’s Day

29 – Parent Teacher Conferences 5:30-8:30pm


7 – Parent Teacher Conferences 3:30-6:30pm

7/8/9- HCMS play

22- Swingin’ the Night Away @ HCHS

End of Quarter 3

21- PSAT for 8th graders: This is a ½ day for 8th graders only

28- Q3 grades available on PowerSchool

29- No school- Spring break